Pathways consulting services - College Application tips

"Dr. Eichel made the daunting task of tackling the college preparation process a rewarding experience for both my son and me."

- Mom of 2007 college freshman

Bentley College, Finance, 2011




College Preparation Tips

Getting ready for college is time-consuming and stressful for most students and consequently, for their families. But, it doesn’t need to be so.

Part of the key to relieving some of the pressure is to be well-prepared and organized. Starting early to assemble lists and generate a file of pertinent materials eliminates the last minute scramble to find and sort needed information.

Here are some organizational tips to help manage the preparative stages of applying to college and then more hints for venturing forth along that new path.

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Files you'll need to help you prepare for college

1. Important papers file


  • Standardized test score reports - MCAS, PSAT, PLAN, SAT, ACT, AP, etc.
  • High School Transcripts
  • Guidance Counselor information - name, address, phone number

2. Saved paperwork and memorabilia file

Assemble and arrange chronologically all paperwork and memorabilia from elementary school onward. Include things like:

  • certificates
  • awards
  • newspaper clippings
  • old report cards
  • class photos
  • notes from teachers
  • programs from plays, assemblies, etc
  • Confirmation, Bar/Bat Mitzvah invitations and documents

3. Potential college file

Create a folder for each potential college and label it with the college’s name.  Keep catalogs, view books, applications and paperwork, (etc.) from each college in its folder.

4. College communication log

Keep track of each person with whom you speak or correspond.  You may have to refer back to a conversation or follow up on a correspondence at a later date and should not have to do so from memory.

For each contact, include:

  • date, time
  • contact at college: name, phone number, department
  • type of contact: phone, email
  • content of conversation
  • notes

5. Financial aid information file

Create one folder for parent information and one for student information. When it comes time to complete financial aid forms, everything will be in one place.

Include the following (as appropriate to your individual situation):

  • most recent tax return
  • most recent W-2's
  • year-to-date dividend, interest (etc.) information
  • savings account and retirement statements
  • stock, bond, mutual fund (etc.) information
  • latest mortgage statement
  • loan information
    • car
    • student loan
    • home
    • etc.
  • other debt information

6. College Budget Information

School Fees

Academic supplies

  • Books
  • Supplies
  • Lab fees
  • Equipment
Rent or Room

Board or Groceries

  • Drinks
  • Vending machines
  • Snacks


  • Laptop
  • Printer

Computer Expense

  • Internet service or connections
  • Printer ink


  • Electricity
  • Gas/Heat
  • Water
  • Other Utilities
Telephone (including cell phone)


  • Health
  • Auto
  • Personal
  • Life

Health Care

  • Prescriptions
  • Doctor
  • Dentist


  • Cable or satellite TV
  • Home living supplies


  • Car Payment
  • Gasoline/Oil
  • Parking
  • Auto maintenance

Local transportation

  • Train
  • Bus
  • Cabs

Travel home

  • Plane
  • Train
  • Bus

Clothing allowance

  • New purchases


  • Dry cleaning
Credit Cards
Student Loan Payment


  • Toiletries
  • Haircuts
  • Gifts
Emergency fund


  • Movies
  • Sporting events
  • Concerts

Social and recreation

  • Restaurant meals
  • Dates
Miscellaneous Expense

7. Scholarship information file

  • applications

8. Letter of recommendation file

  • resume
  • activity and extracurricular list

Information to take to college

9. Health records

Generate a health record:

  • ages of childhood illnesses
  • vaccination dates
  • allergies
  • medications (date each started)
  • family history of major illnesses/surgeries
  • doctors' names, addresses, phone numbers
  • health insurance provider, ID number

10. Address book

Important addresses and phone numbers:

  • who to call in an emergency
  • relatives
  • family friends in the local college area

11. Easy and family recipes

While this may not be immediately necessary, most dorms have kitchens and it provides a young student with an alternative to cafeteria food.

12. Dormitory inventory

  • List all major and small appliances and electronics that will be moved into the dorm.
  • Include model number and serial number.
  • Take a photo of each major electronic device or appliance.

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Valerie Eichel, Ph.D         phone: 508.404.5644     send email

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